Fort Stevens, OR
After nearly a month of walking, I’ve reached a point where walking is my natural state of being; where my feet get itchy after only a few moments rest; where it seems like it’s the world, and not me, that’s moving.
A logging truck approaches. I grab my hat and close my eyes, anticipating the hot, fragrant rush of cedar-scented air that will soon explode into the recently vacated airspace. I pass roadside bushes like bustling fruit markets; I stop frequently to pick choice blackberries from the bramble, oblivious to the vehicles rushing by. Pushing forward, facing the traffic heading threateningly in my direction, I coo softly, as if I could encourage just another foot or two of roadside shoulder through a bout of magical thinking. They pass quickly, offering me room, confined perpetually between their dotted lines.
Lines on the beach, however, are firm, solid. Here is the point where the ocean is divided from the land; here is the point where the vegetation becomes the sand. Ever changing, perhaps, but unmistakable. And there, in every direction, is the horizon. Sometimes I find myself totally ensconced by the fog, held away from the outside world in an environment notable only for endless repetition. Here, I am the center of the universe, and whatever emerges from the surrounding fog does so purposefully, to play a specific role on my journey. Am I moving at all?
I search the dunes and the upcoming beach with a gull’s eye, trying to figure out which direction this way will lead. But, in this fog, I can’t ever approach my boundaries; my world is delineated by the unchanging horizon, by the hard sand beneath my shoes and the faraway blue of the distant sky. Only the sun moves, carving an arc from dawn towards dusk.
Don’t believe what you learned in school; when you walk, it’s unfathomable that anyone could have ever believed the world was flat. All things are a circle, and here I am, walking step after step towards the limits yet never escaping the middle.